Immaturity of the system



Zaheer Bhatti

JUSTICE Qazi Faiz Issa of the Supreme Court has opined to the effect that in awarding punishment against an omission even though not agitated by the Complainant, it had become a precedent that an omission or error was to be punished by disqualification. In the same breath though the learned justice opining that what needed to be established was whether the omission or error was inadvertent or by design, is a weak premise in view of possible subjectivity by the Jury where there is no yardstick to determine the intention of the accused except its own solemn affirmation.
Admittedly, the intention of the jurist in his parable is to be just and honest, but since members of the judiciary are also human and likely to make unintended mistakes in drawing conclusion from subjective assessment, it has been sincerely suggested that the Chief Justice true to his reputation of being an upright Jurist, may constitute a full Court Bench to review its decisions already taken as well as those pending verdict, over disqualification of Parliamentarians invoking the relevant Articles of the Constitution, so that uniformity of judgment is ensured in the larger interest of justice. In this muddied scenario, Nawaz Sharif is taking strength in the NAB reference against him from the principal prosecution witness Wajid Zia admitting that none of the properties abroad were in Nawaz Sharif’s name besides being unable to establish that he received a salary from his son’s FZE Account whereby NS could demand quashing of proceedings against him, possibly leaving only Maryam and her husband to justify their riches since the two sons could escape jurisdiction of Pakistani Law being British Nationals by presenting foreign evidence in British Court over sources of their funding.
There has lately been another aberration beyond the jurisdiction of the Election Commission to strip Farooq Sattar of his Convenership of MQM (P) Rabita Commitee ; it being an intra-party internal matter. And although the High Court has rightly stayed ruling and likely to reverse the EC decision, the un-called for ruling of the Election Commission has already frustrated some somber members who have quit the Party in disgust. The Apex Court needs to take suo moto notice and over-rule such irrational decisions of the Election Commission including the one disallowing newly elected PML(N) Senators to rejoin their Party, who were made to contest as Independents on technical grounds in compliance with an unjustified Supreme Court Judgment taking effect from a backdate, and scrapping Party Nominations for the Senate signed by the outlawed Premier significantly when time for filing fresh nominations had already expired. Notwithstanding the above, if the Senator’s irrespective of their Party affiliation were free to vote for anyone in the Upper House, logic demands that there should be no bar on anyone leave alone Independents changing allegiance or rejoining their Party. It is a mockery of the system that a visible majority is being turned into a minority which sadly even some principled politicians do not find the courage to condemn. Mockery it is also that despite assurances both by the Armed Forces Chief as well as the Chief Judge that they were bound to defend democracy and the Constitution, some politicians besides journalists-cum-analysts are bent upon raising doubt and sowing distrust about two top institutions of the country. They are doing no good to their own credibility leave alone rendering any service to the nation which needs unity and understanding like never before.
Parliamentarians are seen complaining that they are never allowed to complete their term while dictators rule for decades at will and are never held accountable. Ironically it is the Parliamentarians themselves who pamper, endorse and enable such dictators to rule indefinitely; Pervez Elahi, a former Chief Minister of Punjab is on record vowing to see Pervez Musharraf return as President in uniform ten times over. Even today, Imran Khan one of the contenders to the throne who wholeheartedly supported Musharraf during his take-over, has reiterated that Musharraf’s rule was better than that of Nawaz Sharif and Zardari.
Mindsets have become so berated, that when the Chief Executive of the Country chooses to call on the Chief Justice of the Apex Court, politicians and journalists of various ilk scramble to portray it as an attempt by the Ruling Party to strike some kind of a deal which amounts to casting aspersions on the highest offices of the country. To the chagrin of those who are accustomed to smelling a rat in everything no matter how well-intended, this appears to have been a consultative meeting on national issues of concern to both as this meeting lasted almost two hours, and surely they would not have just discussed the weather. On principle, had there been any matter of urgency the Chief Justice in order of precedence and protocol on receiving message about the PM’s intended call-on, should have himself offered to go to the Chief Executive. But since that did not happen it was inappropriate for the Chief Justice to share any remark over the in-camera meeting with a Counsel attending his Court; more so when the said lawyer belonged to a political party. The Chief Judge is indeed getting carried away in his judicial activism by saying in public what he needs to avoid.
But that a meeting between two highest offices of the country has been made to be political and media gossip, only reflects the immaturity of the system, whereas it should have been projected to the world as a step to strike understanding and remove misgivings amid rising tensions between major National Institutions; more so when these very politicians and media pundits have been crying hoarse about transgression in each other’s domain and sane voices like Raza Rabbani have time and again emphasized upon the necessity of a grand national in-camera dialogue among key institutions of the State in order to iron out the right equation.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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